Auchinleck Talbot boss Tommy Sloan admitted he was “not happy” when all clubs in the West of Scotland Football League were told to stop training earlier this month.

The news came after the Joint SFA/SPFL Response Group agreed to halt training for all leagues outwith the Scottish Premiership in the wake of the COVID-19 rule breaches at Premiership sides Aberdeen and Celtic.

The suspension is being gradually lifted now but Talbot gaffer Sloan believes clubs in the lower leagues were punished through no fault of their own.

He said: “We were not happy when we got the news. It’s daft the way it has came about. It’s as if we have been punished for the senior situation and I do not know how they came to their decision. Clubs at our level have certainly suffered because of it without actually breaking any restrictions.

“I think the clear message that has come from the authorities is they are not afraid to stop the game if there are rule breaches.

“Ultimately it is down to the individual to do their bit and take responsibility for their own actions.

“Hopefully this is just a warning to all clubs and the authorities are making an example of the situation and we can get back soon.”

He added: “The bigger picture is clubs at our level cannot spend thousands of pounds to get players tested every week so I do not know how we get round that and it is difficult to see a way out of that.”

Prior to the suspension of training, Talbot, had three sessions – the first time the squad had trained since March.

However, due to COVID-19 restrictions they had to train in small groups and can only play non-contact.

Sloan said: “It’s difficult for the boys to be fully motivated without the competition.

“The first few sessions we were all glad to be back and it was bit of a novelty but by the time we got to the third session everyone was wanting to get more involved and make it more competitive but it’s not possible given the situation as we need to stick to the rules.

“Since training has stopped it is up to the players to keep themselves fit individually.”